Controlling software costs

Oct 17, 2016 8:00:41 AM
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Cutting software licensing costs while enhancing the security of data and applications

In a recently published report, Gartner analysts point out that companies can reduce their software costs by as much as 30 percent when they follow three best practices for managing software licenses. Given that Gartner also forecasts that global software spending in 2016 will amount to $332 billion, the potential savings are also very large.

In addition to using automated license management tools, Gartner recommends reducing software costs through optimizing software configurations and by recycling software licenses. We would agree that a thorough review of your use of licensing and the configuration of your user roles can make a big difference in reducing software costs. A company we know recently saved €250,000 by doing just that by using our solution, To-Increase Dynamic Security Management.

How can you reduce software costs while making data and applications more secure?

Provision users with the lowest-tier role that delivers the functionality they need

The standard configuration in many ERP and other software systems assigns users by default to the highest and most expensive license tier. That probably gives at least some of your users access to capabilities they don’t require. It means unnecessary costs and is also a security gap, especially if they also can interact with sensitive company data such as intellectual property. Try going the other way and see how many users can accomplish everything they need to do with the least costly type of license. Take them one level up only if that is not the case. For example, if you are evaluating your roles and licensing for Microsoft Dynamics AX, determine how many users are well provisioned with self-serve client access licenses (CAL) before stepping up to task CALs, functional CALs, and enterprise CALs for your power users.

In Microsoft Dynamics AX, you also have the ability to define roles with their own, custom-defined access to ERP functionality. You can reconfigure certain roles, or create new roles, to provide them with just the capabilities they require, and, at the same time, keep security at an optimal level while minimizing license costs. Dynamic Security Management keeps this effort manageable.

Audit roles to keep them aligned with process realities

Throughout the lifecycle of your ERP and other business systems, the company changes and evolves. Processes and roles in your technology infrastructure may also need to adjust to remain in sync with current business needs. Therefore, we recommend running the task recorder in Microsoft Dynamics AX from time to time to document how activities happen within your processes and plan any appropriate adjustments in your roles’ capabilities and access levels. Gathering evidence this way to audit your roles is a good practice to keep them aligned with actual, shifting business requirements and ensure that users work effectively with your ERP system and other software resources. At the same time, you can keep strengthen security and benefit from potential license cost savings.

It’s also a good idea to review your system roles and their access levels when you perform major software upgrades or integrate new software tools with your ERP system. If you use Dynamic Security Management, the solution considers Microsoft Dynamics AX and any ISV solutions that augment it holistically. You can then validate and define your roles’ capabilities, and control their security levels and licensing costs, in the context of all the software that facilitates your business processes. These are the main steps of the process:

- You use the Microsoft Dynamics AX task recorder to record the tasks and activities a user performs, simply by running through them.

- Dynamic Security Management records the complete details of these tasks, and also notes what level of access is needed to make that workflow possible.

- It then relies on that information to validate roles that already exist, to recommend the roles that can meet your needs with minimal changes to their access levels, or to help you create new roles specifically for the business processes you documented.

As you update roles and processes, you may well be able to make licensing more cost-effective and augment the security of the application by eliminating needless access to data and capabilities. You can also connect your task recorder findings and Dynamic Security Management with your business process management (BPM) efforts in To-Increase RapidValue to make sure the company’s process model and strategy are based on current practices.

Review your license inventory for poorly used licenses

Are there licenses that your company has already purchased but that are not being fully used? This is the case in many organizations. When you need to bring new users into a software system or add capabilities to existing user accounts, these partially dormant licenses are invaluable. You can take advantage of them to accomplish more while remaining within your current license limits. Realigning the real needs of your roles with licenses and shifting underused licenses to the people who need them can greatly reduce and delay the need for additional license acquisitions. Again, the idea is to settle users at the most economical and properly featured license level that meets their requirements instead of over-provisioning them.

If you would like to control software costs and boost the security of your data and applications, let’s talk. Please get in touch with me or simply contact To-Increase.

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About Author
Luciano Cunha

Luciano Cunha

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) For Luciano, being responsible for To-Increase’s global sales and marketing means unleashing the company’s insight, innovation, and creativity to tell our story and help customers achieve their goals. On the road much of the time, he travels the world to meet with customers, understand their challenges and ambitions, and find the most effective ways to help them advance. Luciano develops and mentors our marketing and sales team, and creates strategies to help the To-Increase worldwide partner channel thrive and grow.
Making Customer Needs the Main Business Driver Luciano and his team have daily conversations with the To-Increase research and development organization to bring customers’ requirements and concerns into the road maps and design of our solutions. Luciano brings his insight to the marketing group to make sure the company’s communications resonate with customers and speak directly to their experience.
“I’m awed by customers’ innovative spirit in taking business management technology past its limits and by their generosity in letting us participate and empower them. I hope to transform our organization to become even more customer-centric than we are today. That means making more resources available to spend productive time with both our customers and partners, so we can ensure that we place into customer businesses effective solutions that fit the evolutionary stage of their operation and the way their people and processes work.”
Empowering a Global Channel
Because To-Increase only sells through partners, readying the channel to be successful in helping customers is a business-critical effort. Luciano aims to meet partners where their interests are. Partners who consider the relationship with To-Increase strategic can rely on our industry specialists to work with them as they plan their growth and serve customers. If partners prefer a less collaborative relationship, they still receive the rich To-Increase expertise and resources to ensure they win the business, perform a successful deployment, and retain a satisfied customer. In working with partners and their customers, Luciano brings to bear his experience of many years of creating successful, customer-focused business development and marketing strategies in many of the world’s countries and regions.
Enabling Customer Success in Challenging Business Environments
Looking into the near future, Luciano expects that customers will continue to expect To-Increase to help them make business sense of unfolding trends and technologies. For example, the internet of things (IoT) will thoroughly revolutionize manufacturing, engineering, and supply chains. Big data will be meaningful and valuable when decision-makers can use technology solutions to transform it into actionable business intelligence that supports key roles and business processes. Mobility will help companies become digital enterprises and move business processes forward from any location, at any time. Team To-Increase harnesses innovation to help customers translate the promise of these technologies into business results.
Before his current role, Luciano for several years was one of To-Increase’s global industry directors, responsible for our industry solutions. His experience also spans more than 17 years in IT and manufacturing management roles. These positions took him into various areas at IBM Brazil, serving as product manager for several software development companies, and included working in senior management at a manufacturing organization in the U.S.
Luciano is married with two young children. Away from work, he enjoys participating in a soccer class together with his son and daughter as well as taking relaxing walks in natural environments with his family.

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